Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, recently introduced the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act and the Alzheimer’s Research Semipostal Stamp Act in recognition of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. These two bipartisan bills have more than 50 original cosponsors and were endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
“Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it has reached crisis proportions,” said Congresswoman Waters. “There is no effective treatment, no means of prevention, and no method for slowing the progression of the disease.”
“All of us know a friend or family member who are among the 5.5 million Americans who suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Congress must continually pursue a full court press to support research, raise awareness and support those currently living with, or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. The legislation we introduce today seeks to increase NIH funding for Alzheimer’s research and ensure caregivers have access to the training and resources they need to provide effective care—as we continue work towards prevention, treatment and, hopefully, a cure,” said Congressman Smith.
The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 2972) authorizes grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand training and support services for families, and caregivers, of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
“More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care to family and friends living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said Congresswoman Waters. “The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act will improve the ability of caregivers to provide effective and compassionate care and will allow more Alzheimer’s patients to remain in their homes with people who love them.”
The Alzheimer’s Research Semipostal Stamp Act (H.R. 2973) requires the U.S. Postal Service to issue and sell a semipostal stamp, with the proceeds helping to fund Alzheimer’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health. The bill is modeled on the popular and successful Breast Cancer Research Semipostal Stamp.
“The Alzheimer’s Research Semipostal Stamp Act will raise public awareness about Alzheimer’s and encourage individuals to make voluntary contributions to research efforts,” said Congresswoman Waters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in the year 2013, and this number is expected to almost triple to 14 million by the year 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association calculated that caregivers provided more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care for people with dementia in 2016, at an estimated value of over $230 billion. Compared with caregivers for people without dementia, twice as many caregivers for people with dementia indicate substantial emotional, financial and physical stress.
“Together, these two bipartisan bills will assist Alzheimer’s patients and their families; promote public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease; and encourage voluntary contributions to research efforts,” said Congresswoman Waters.